University welcomes the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellows

Africa's emerging business and entrepreneurship leaders set to arrive for a six-week Academic and Leadership Institute

Twenty-five Mandela Fellows arrived this week for a six-week academic and leadership institute.

Mandela Fellows under the Reno Arch in the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center

The University of Nevada, Reno is proud to announce the arrival of the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellows. Beginning this week, the University will host 25 of Africa's bright, emerging business and entrepreneurship leaders for a six-week academic and leadership institute sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. University President Marc Johnson will welcome the Fellows at 9 a.m. Friday, June 22, in the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities and local community engagement. These fellows are young leaders from across Sub-Saharan Africa that have an established record of accomplishment in leadership, entrepreneurship and a commitment to the empowerment of their respective communities.

"In 2016 and 2017, fellows contributed more than 25,000 hours of community service to American organizations and social services," the International Research & Exchanges Board reported.

At the University, the fellows will participate in a customized academic institute that focuses on practical skills building in the area of business and entrepreneurship. They will connect with local leaders and community partners, such as Microsoft, to network and develop professional connections as well as give back to the community through service opportunities in the Reno/Tahoe area. A key component of the program is connecting these young African leaders with as many Americans as possible to enrich local U.S. communities while sharing best practices.

"This program provides opportunities to these young leaders to create connections they might not have received otherwise," Carina Black, executive director at the Northern Nevada International Center, said. "The connections these fellows make assist in the expansion of markets and networks globally, forming lasting relationships; it's great to experience our community being part of that transformation."

The cohort of fellows hosted by the University will be part of a larger group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows at 27 institutions across the United States this summer. Following their time on campus, these young leaders will convene in Washington, D.C. for the fifth annual Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit. There, they will forge connections with one another and U.S. leaders from the private, public and nonprofit sectors; taking part in networking and panel discussions.

Following the Summit, up to 100 competitively selected fellows will participate in six weeks of professional development training at U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies and government agencies. The local Microsoft Licensing Office will host one of these professional development fellows in August and September.

For additional information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Institute at the University of Nevada, Reno, please contact Carina Black, executive director of the Northern Nevada International Center, at 775-784-7515, ext. 221 or, or Dave Croasdell, associate professor in the College of Business, at

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a program of the U.S. Department of State and is administered by IREX. Join the conversation at #YALI2018.

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